Securing Your Dream Flexible Job
Written by Hannah Keal, Chief People Officer at Unleashed.
1st Sep 2022
You’ve found it. The perfect flexible role. You’ve combed through countless job descriptions, searched shedloads of sites, and now you’ve got that tingly feeling of excitement - finally - something that seems to tick all of your boxes. Your hands are hovering over the ‘apply now’ button - but what can you do to make your application stand out?Well - we’ve got your back! In this post, we’ll be talking about how to tweak your job application when applying for a flexible job - and what questions you should be asking prospective employers to ensure that you’re going to be set up for success in your dream flexible role.
Tailoring your CV for a flexible job
If the company you’re applying to requests a copy of your CV, it’s important to remember that it’s only for getting you through the door - the real test begins at the interview stage. So your CV should be clean, simple and functional, summarising the key details of your greatest achievements, your unique experience and your superlative skills. That way, it’s easy for the hiring manager or recruiter who will be reviewing your application to see straight away how it aligns with the requirements of the role.
When you’re drafting your CV for a flexible role, don’t forget to indicate the different ways that you’ve worked flexibly. If this sounds basic, it’s because it is - but it’s also easy to miss. When you list each of your previous roles, don’t forget to detail whether they were ‘fully remote’, ‘hybrid’ or whether you worked flexibly in a different way. For example, indicating that you have experience in a job share will naturally be helpful to demonstrate when applying for a similarly structured role. If you’re including a short bio up top to set context and distinguish yourself from other applicants, you may also want to mention your flexible experience here.Some employers will invite you to share your LinkedIn profile instead of a CV, which is a good reason why you should also update your LinkedIn to reflect how you work as well as what you do. And if you’re requesting a recommendation - you could also ask your peer or manager to mention your remote working experience in their testimonial too.
Showcasing your skills
Few application processes are ‘CV only’ any longer - and indeed, a lot of employers are choosing to skip the CV altogether, as it’s widely recognised that these little pieces of (virtual) paper can open the door for a whole lot of unconscious bias. It’s now very common to ask candidates to answer some skills-based questions as well as or instead of a CV.These questions are a great opportunity to showcase not just the core skills for the role, but also those that working flexibly demands too - you might want to demonstrate your asynchronous communication skills, your experience of structuring hybrid meetings or your ability to work with your job-share partner to get the best out of each other's strengths - whatever skills set you in good stead to succeed in the type of flexible role you’re applying for.
What about if I haven’t worked flexibly before?
If you haven’t worked flexibly before but you’ve done your research about the different types of flexible roles out there and you’re ready to make a move, then it might be helpful to detail in your application the skills that you have which are transferable and relevant to a flexible role.Maybe you haven’t worked remotely before but you’ve studied remotely - how might that experience be helpful? You may also want to reach out to friends or colleagues that have experienced the type of flexible working pattern you would like to move into and ask them to share some wisdom with you.
Don’t forget an interview process is a two-way street!
Once you’ve cleared the CV screening stage and start moving through the rest of your prospective employer's interview process - it’s important to remember that just as your suitability for the role is being tested, you also have the opportunity to assess whether the role and the company are right for you.
It’s important to be clear from the get-go about what works for you in terms of working flexibly and open up a conversation about this to avoid wasting your time with employers who don’t support the way you’d like to work.
Before your interviews, you should also take the time to think about what’s important to you about being able to work flexibly and, if this isn’t your first flexible role, what has previously really help you thrive. Once you’ve reflected on this, you can then prepare some questions to help you determine whether the company you’re applying for is really right for you. Your actual list of questions will vary depending on the type of flexible work you want to do and what’s really important to you, but here are some examples of topics you might want to cover:
- If the company describes itself as hybrid/remote first, it’s a good idea to explore what that looks like in practice. Hybrid, in particular, can mean many different things at different companies, so getting your head around the day-to-day can be helpful to figure out if it’s right for you.
- You may also want to enquire about the tools and support structures a prospective employer has in place to genuinely support flexible working - for example, if the company operates a core hours structure, how do the team stay connected? Is there a budget to make sure your home working environment is set up with everything you need? Does the company operate a work from anywhere policy?
- If you haven’t worked flexibly before, you could ask whether company onboarding covers anything that will help you adapt and integrate smoothly into the team? Will you have a buddy assigned to you?
- If you are earlier in your career and seeking a remote or hybrid role, you may be particularly interested in asking about how a prospective employer structures on-the-job learning and ensures that you can benefit from the team’s collective wisdom, as the kind of organic learning you get from being in an office environment can be harder to capture within distributed teams.
- Speaking to other members of the team about how flexibility works for them can also offer you some insight into how different people in the company think about and utilise flexibility. A flexible working policy is one thing, but actually understanding how it plays out culturally can offer so much more.